If you’re a fighter, you probably know that cauliflower ear is caused by broken blood vessels in the ear. When the ear fills with blood, you get the distinct cauliflower-like appearance.
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Why some people even want to get cauliflower ear?
Now why would someone want this for their ear, especially when it can be painful? Well, for mixed martial arts fighters and wrestlers, cauliflower ear can be like having a trophy. They’re often proud to display the ear to show that they’re able to grapple without headgear.
Those ears command respect for their skills and put them amongst the top fighters. We wouldn’t recommend it however if you can avoid it. In severe cases, the structure and working of the ear can be damaged if it’s not treated, so keep that in mind before you take off your headgear.
Symptoms of Cauliflower Ear
You can feel it when you start getting cauliflower ear. It’ll feel a little strange at first, which is the best time to treat it. Over time it will begin to develop into cartilage and you’ll lose feeling in it. There are some common symptoms of acute cauliflower ear you should look out for:
– Pain in the ear
– Bruising around the ear
– Deformity in the ear’s curvature (for that distinct shape)
As your cauliflower ear gets worse however, the problems will get more serious:
– Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
– Blurred vision
– Facial swelling
– Severe bleeding
– Possible hearing loss in the most severe cases
No MMA fighters have lost their hearing, but some European rugby players have had serious damage. Try and treat it early before things get worse.
More About Cauliflower Ear (Do You Really Want To Have It?)
Let’s go more into what exactly cauliflower ear actually is. It’s also known as hematoma auris, perichondrial hematoma, and by a few other complicated names if you want to get technical. Anyway, as the ear develops that cauliflower-like shape without you treating it, the ear contracts in on itself. That’s what causes the irreparable deformity. Once the cartilage dies and fibrosis occurs, you can no longer treat it. Now the ear is damaged and will always be a risk.
We know it’s like a badge of honor for MMA fighters, but this is important to understand: once you have cauliflower ear, you’re permanently at risk for getting it again. This means that even if you are able to treat it before it gets severe, the ear is much more likely to be damaged in the future. This can certainly be painful as you continue fighting if you have to keep draining and fixing the ear every time.
I know some of the younger fighters think getting cauliflower ear would make them look tough but like tattoos it definitely won’t help improve your fighting skills. So unless you are prepared for the on going complications that it can cause, I would highly recommend avoiding it. So just keep wearing that head gear during training.